During his White House swearing-in ceremony this evening before his wife and children, new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh spoke of leaving behind “bitterness” to take office “with gratitude and no bitterness.”
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” President Trump said in his opening remarks. “Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.”
POTUS to KAVANAUGH: “You sir, under historic scrutiny, were proved innocent.”
— Bre Payton (@Bre_payton) October 8, 2018
Kavanaugh and the president acknowledged the devastation of his confirmation process, with Kavanaugh saying he aims to work for “stability and unity” on the Supreme Court.
“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional,” Kavanaugh said. “That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be. I take this office with gratitude and no bitterness. On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans.”
President Trump pledged Kavanaugh will “defend the eternal rights and freedoms of all Americans.”
The audience gave a standing ovation after President Trump thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for helping Kavanaugh get confirmed. Kavanaugh also thanked McConnell and several other Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, and Jeff Flake, for standing by him while his confirmation was rocked with a series of last-minute uncorroborated accusations of sexual assault.
“Ashley and I are grateful for the prayers from the thousands and thousands of people we have heard from throughout America,” said the man who during his defense against the allegations noted that his daughter had asked his family to pray for his accuser. He and Trump also thanked retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, the seat Kavanaugh now fills.
Kavanaugh was officially sworn in Saturday at the Supreme Court after the Senate confirmed him 50-48. During that swearing in, protesters screamed and banged on the doors outside.
Watch tonight’s full White House event below.